Tales from the Dark Side

The same challenge Jenkins is tackling here faces any Christian who attempts to consider what is widely and popularly believed to be the Christian doctrine of Hell. It’s almost impossible for us today to talk about — or even to think about — any idea of Hell that isn’t thoroughly intertwined with and shaped by a host of folklore, legends, pop-culture storytelling, tabloid sensationalism, and pseudo-academic malarkey that’s every bit as weird and bogus as the belief that poor Charles Walton was ritually sacrificed in 1945 in a “witch killing” intent on ensuring a bountiful harvest. [Read more…]

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And if you float you burn

“This is a round up,” featuring two very different analyses of two very different candidates’ economic proposals; the perversity of pretending children are adults; folklore as memory and history; and North Carolina’s admission that it seeks to disenfranchise black citizens. [Read more…]

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He’s got the biggest King James you’ve ever seen

“Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” That’s how I know that Zacchaeus was “born again.” Plus: What spiritual maturity isn’t; giant sinkholes in Siberia; an astonishing inside look at private prisons; and some other links to distract from the absence of a “Nicolae” post. [Read more…]

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The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning

What if we rewrote “The Da Vinci Code” as an extended episode of “Leverage”? That’s what you’ll find in Ariel Sabar’s amazing attempt to determine the provenance of the allegedly ancient papyrus fragment known as the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Also: “Hating Hillary” ca. 1996; baby steps for the SBC and a Catholic bishop; and another reminder that Eric Metaxas is a silly, silly man. [Read more…]

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The Fall of the House of Graham (ongoing)

The transition from Billy Graham to his son Franklin Graham is a microcosm of the past 40 years of white evangelical Christianity in America. For Billy, the primary thing was always proclamation evangelism. That was the core of his identity. For Franklin, the primary thing is always the culture wars — anti-feminism, white supremacy, and the lucrative demonizing of the Other. That is the core of his identity. [Read more…]

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Whatever happened to ‘pro-life Democrats’? Go see ‘Spotlight’

The once mostly Catholic phenomenon of congressional “pro-life Democrats” ended due to the horror of the clergy abuse scandal. Thus nowadays, most “pro-life Democrats” are really blue dogs — “social conservatives” who have found other, more effective, ways of signaling that social conservatism and all that it entails. [Read more…]

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The Rod D. Horror Picture Show

Rod Dreher’s story never happened. The Bad Jackie of the tough Texas suburbs — if any such person really exists — is making stuff up. And she’s so focused on making her story shocking that she forgot to make any of it plausible. But the question isn’t whether Dreher is deliberately lying or just credulously bearing false witness against his neighbors. The question is WHY Rod Dreher so desperately wishes that fantasies like this story were true. [Read more…]

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Postcards from the culture wars (5.6)

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” [Read more…]

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